Evolution or flip-flop? Or in this case, a flip-flop-flip? NBC News goes with the former on Biden’s shifting stances on the Hyde Amendment, an annual budget rider that blocks federal funding for abortions. Two weeks after changing positions to oppose the Hyde Amendment, Biden has “evolved” back to his previous position:
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 5, 2019
As recently as Tuesday, Biden reaffirmed his support for Roe, telling voters in New Hampshire that it is “the law of the land, a woman has a right to choose.” He added that if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade while he was president, he would “push” legislation to keep it legal.
Yet his presidential campaign confirmed to NBC News that Biden still supports the Hyde Amendment, a four-decade-old ban on using federal funds for abortion services, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman.
Biden’s continued support for Hyde not only sets him apart from the rest of his 2020 Democratic competitors, but it may surprise progressive groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, which promoted a recent tweet by one of its activists appearing to get Biden to commit to ending Hyde during a rope-line exchange in South Carolina. Biden’s campaign told NBC he would be open to repealing Hyde if abortion avenues currently protected under Roe were threatened.
Does evolution go in opposite directions? Does it reverse itself, and then reverse itself again? As John McCormack points out, this wasn’t a misunderstanding, either. Two weeks ago, Biden was clear with the ACLU activist that he would commit himself to abolishing the amendment:
ACLU Activist: I’m an ACLU Rights For All voter, and I have one quick question for you. And that is: Will you commit to abolishing the Hyde amendment, which hurts poor women and—
Biden: Yes…. Yes. And by the way, ACLU member, I have a near-perfect voting record my entire career.
ACLU: I heard you did. But I’m glad you just said you would commit to abolishing the Hyde Amendment.
Biden: Right now it has to be… It can’t stay.
Note that there wasn’t any conditional attached to that commitment. Biden didn’t say, “Well, if the Supreme Court rolls back Roe, we’d have to consider it.” That’s the explanation today from Team Biden on the flip-flop, but they’re just reverse engineering Biden’s pandering blather.
Guess who else isn’t buying the “evolution” argument from NBC?
There’s NO political or ideological excuse for @JoeBiden’s support for the Hyde Amendment, which translates into discrimination against poor women and women of color plain and simple. His position further endangers people already facing enormous hurdles. https://t.co/3jDleIq077
— NARAL (@NARAL) June 5, 2019
Just how “controversial” is the Hyde Amendment, anyway? When Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine tried to make it “controversial” in 2016, a YouGov poll showed 2:1 support for the ban on federal funding. In fact, the demos showed that support for the Hyde Amendment is surprisingly broad:
Contrary to the above as well, the Hyde Amendment actually polls well with the general public. In a YouGov poll last month, 55% of respondents supported it and only 29% oppose it. Almost every demo within the poll supports Hyde by a majority or plurality, with the only exception being Democrats — and it’s a virtual tie there at 41/44. Among the lower-income Americans that Catholics for Choice claim to champion (under $50K), Hyde gets 55/26 support.
The only thing “controversial” about the Hyde Amendment is Democrats’ insistence on embracing the radical position to oppose it. And the only evolution Biden has experienced is the kind of adaptation that takes place when a politician tells people what they want to hear.